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People power in action: ACF VOLUNTEERS LIKE RICHARD WEATHERHEAD PROVE THAT DEMOCRACY IS FOR EVERYONE BY MEETING THEIR MPS AND HOLDING THEM TO ACCOUNT.

OUR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY can feel a long way from the day-to-day of Australians' lives. But ACF Community volunteers across Australia have been stepping up to make sure their local representatives hear the views of their constituents; the people who will decide if they are worthy to represent them at the next election.

Richard Weatherhead, an ACF Community volunteer from Tarragindi in Brisbane's South, met with his state and federal representatives several times in the last year. Richard told me that before getting involved with ACF, meeting with a politician was not something he'd ever considered. Canberra isn't his backyard, he was busy with his young daughter Zoe, but mostly, he never had a reason to make contact. This changed when he became involved in a local ACF Community group and began taking action on climate change. "Climate change is such a big problem, such a hard problem to solve. I became convinced that the only way to solve it is to get political."

What surprised Richard about his meetings was how willing the politicians were to listen. While admitting sometimes they might "say what you want to hear", Richard is also confident that he was able to make an impact. "The experience of sharing my passion about climate change was really empowering. Even if they can't always make commitments on a political level, you have an opportunity to connect on a human level--and I know that makes a difference."

Along with Richard, more than 50 members of the ACF Community have met with their MPs in the last 12 months. As part of ACF's campaign to make the next federal election the climate election, people from all around Australia have been heading to their local representatives' offices, demanding that politicians from all parties act urgently to stop climate damage.

ACF's Community Organising team is here to support you to meet your MP and share your views on climate damage. I asked Richard what advice he might give to others in the community who are considering meeting with a politician: "It's very easy! You'll definitely feel empowered--and the more times we go in and ask for something, the more likely they are to act."

By ACF Community Organiser, Isabella Morand

Along with Richard, over 50 members of the ACF Community have met with their MPs in the last 12 months.

Richard Weatherhead and fellow volunteer Liz Foley at ACF Queensland election launch.

If you are interested in taking the next step on your democratic journey, visit www.acf.org.au/volunteer to join a local ACF community group or to start your own.

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Author:Morand, Isabella
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2019
Words:432
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